Professor Boris Urban, PhD.

Member

Prof Boris Urban has more than 30 years of academic and professional experience in business, where he has practiced, taught and researched, organisational behaviour, strategy and entrepreneurship. His academic appointments include Prof. at the Graduate School of Business (WBS), University of Witwatersrand, Assoc. Prof. at University of Johannesburg, and guest lecturing at various Business Schools globally. Boris was the inaugural Chair in Entrepreneurship at Wits and is a rated researcher.

Boris’s academic studies are positioned in Management Sciences where he holds a Ph.D (University of Pretoria). Based on more than 85 publications in academic journals his work is recognised and cited in the field (h index-20; i10-index-38). He has published in journals such as the: Journal of Technology Transfer, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research, International Journal of Emerging Markets, International Journal of HRM, and Managerial and Decision Economics.

The rigour and significance of his work is evident in the many honours he has been awarded, which include both the Juta and Sasol prize for academic achievement, the MANEX award for Best Researcher at WBS, Dean’s award for Best Researcher at Wits CLM Faculty (2013 and 2015), and the Research and Knowledge Exchange (RAKE 2014) award from the UK based Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship. He is the recipient of research grant funding from the Economic and Social Research Council/NRF/Newton Fund.

Boris is the editor and co-author of a series of books on entrepreneurship published by Oxford University Press and Springer, which are used as prescribed texts at several universities. He has presented papers at international conferences, including the Academy of Management and the British Academy of Management and won best paper awards. He has published numerous award winning case studies used in classrooms globally. Boris serves on several editorial boards, including the Journal of Social Entrepreneurship (Oxford), Social Business (Strathclyde), Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies (Essex).

His academic citizenship credentials have been earned in various capacities, such as Acting WBS Director (2009), Research Director (2013), and NRF Specialist Committee member (2014-2018). As Programme Director, Boris introduced the niche academic degree programme: Master of Management in Entrepreneurship (Ranked in Top 100 Best Masters.com). He has developed and lectured various modules for MBA and Executive Education programmes, and supervised numerous Ph.D and Masters’ students. His research theme leads the Centre for Entrepreneurship (Cfe) at the Wits, serves as a platform for research fellows, and provides him with access to international networks. To advance the national agenda for entrepreneurship he has engaged with the development of township entrepreneurs and enterprise hubs (Start-up Nations SA).

The impact and reach of Prof’s work is noticeable through several collaborative projects focusing on research and entrepreneurial capacity development around the world. Currently his research collaborations include the International Entrepreneurship Multi-Cultural Study with leading BRIC, UK and US universities, as well as the Partnering Network for Inclusive Growth through Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which has benefited several Ph.D students. As subject expert, he has contributed to several initiatives such as the World Economic Forum, EY G20 Entrepreneurship Monitor Report, Sunday Times Directors Event, SME Summit, and MIT Global Start-ups panels. He also sits on the Executive Board of the Africa Business and Entrepreneurship Research Society and has had the opportunity to present his research findings at conventions and colloquiums held at various organisations globally.

Apart from his academic background, Boris has wide-ranging business experience. He first gained entrepreneurial familiarity by working part-time in his family business. Boris has created new ventures, operated both as a franchisor and as franchisee, and worked for MNCs, with broad exposure to strategic and general management functions. Through training and consulting, he has delivered solutions to local and international corporate clients in the private and NGO sectors (e.g. Liberty Life, Vodacom, and Namibian Tourism). Boris is regularly invited as a keynote speaker and as a subject expert on TV and radio shows.

Boris conducts internationally relevant, high-quality independent research. His strategy of developing junior African scholars advances scholarship to move beyond high-impact factor journals through mainstream publishing. His primary research agenda is to expand knowledge within a unified explanatory structure to understand entrepreneurial behaviour at the individual, organisational and societal levels.

Director and Chair, Master of Management Degree (Entrepreneurship)
Graduate School of Business Administration (Wits Business School), WBS,
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (South Africa)
Boris.Urban@wits.ac.za